I see the need ... the taxpaying public wants to see their data in the visible spectrum, and exoplanets are the trend. But how much mileage can we actually get from counting Earth-like planets? If we expect to make any progress in our ability to genuinely interact with the universe -- i.e. move around it -- we need to look far outside of the visible spectra. We need arrays to understand the real meat of the universe, like neutrino oscillations, weak interactions and universe expansion/contraction.In some ways, yes. I've been involved with the Allen Telescope Array at Hat Creek, and an array of small dish antennas does have many advantages over a large antenna. Advantages include cost (of course), wider field of view, better angular resolution, multi-beam capability (using phased array techniques), and others. But the big antennas (and mirrors) still have an advantage when it comes to noise floor, which limits the ability to detect remote and weak sources.
At some point, these exoplanets become like avoiding a relationship with the wife in order to spend all day at the strip club where we can look but not touch.
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